Gems of Dominion

Gems of Dominion

Stan Wolf


EUR 16,90

Format: 13,5 x 21,5 cm
Seitenanzahl: 240
ISBN: 978-3-99026-118-7
Erscheinungsdatum: 27.04.2011
A temporal anomaly - people suddenly disappearing without a trace. Are the mysterious Black Gems behind it? After the amateur pilot, Wolf, found such a Gem in the chthonic chamber underneath the pyramid of Cheops, he and his companion Linda are again and again confronted with them during their journeys in Egypt. At Mount Untersberg, near Salzburg, Austria, people disappear as well. During their research into the mysterious phenomenon Wolf and Linda make an unbelievable discovery. When their investigation expands to the nearby Mount Obersalzberg, the former residential hideaway of the NS-leaders, Wolf is in severe jeopardy. Their investigation will even send them with a Cessna to Fuerteventura, where under commitment of their life they discover an old secret in the Villa Winter, a country house from pre-war times. Over and over again the Black Gems have an unbelievable part in the act. But there are others, who know about the Dominion of the Gems and who are willing to commit anything for getting hold of them ...This gripping and enthralling novel is predominantly based on true events
<strong>Chapter I</strong>

Greece, October 1941

Arainy day of October came to an end in the Aegean Sea. Low clouds hid the sky over the coast of Greece. The whitecaps of the turbulent sea and the bleak spume of surf reinforced the gloomy impression of unpleasant autumn weather.
Lights were already burning in the barracks of the small frontline airstrip of Kalamaki, not far from Athens’ harbour of Piraeus, when mission order was received for the two Heinkel HE 111 fighter bombers of the 4th Unit of the 26th Bomber Wing of the German Luftwaffe. As its emblem the Wing bore a seated red lion with the motto Vestigium leonis – The Lion’s Track –, for that reason it was also known as the Lion’s Squadron.
Now just thirty minutes were left for the pilot, Leutnant Jansen, to discuss the route with the airman of the other plane. Their first stopover was scheduled to be the recently established airstrip of Iraklion. Additional fuel tanks would be fitted there and the planes refilled, for this time, their range had to be increased to maximum. As their target was named the Red Sea, south of the Canal of Suez. For according to just recently received reports of the military intelligence service, the Queen Mary was there, having aboard enormous amounts of supply for the Allied troops in North Africa.
At that time the Queen Mary was the largest passenger-ship of the world; but for war purposes the Brits had re-equipped her as a troop transporter. That night of October 6, 1941, the two German planes were ordered to sink her with special torpedo bombs.
Jansen started the huge engines of his aeroplane. Roaring loud its mighty propellers came up to speed, and after the other bomber had also started its engines, both planes rolled closely behind each other to the left end of the airstrip. The twin-engined Heinkel 111 with their five-men crew each had take-off on schedule, and after little more than an hour they already arrived at the barely illuminated runway in Iraklion on the island of Crete. Within short distance to each other both machines touched down on the levelled airstrip and rolled to the already waiting tank lorry. In the air surveillance barrack the two flight commanders received the current weather report for their flight course. And within shortest time the additional tanks were fitted under the wings and the planes refilled. They departed South and set course for the Egyptian port of Alexandria.
Just before reaching the African coast, Leutnant Jansen ordered to cease all radio traffic, lest the enemy might home in on the bombers. Over the north of Egypt the sky was cloudless, and in the moonlight the coastline of the African continent stood out crisply. Now Jansen altered, as agreed before, his course to 110 degrees, and the second HE 111 followed in close distance. At an altitude of 10,000 feet they passed North of Cairo, and just after midnight they were approaching the Red Sea South of Suez. Now they had very good visibility and descended to 300 feet above sea-level. Within the next thirty minutes they should encounter the Queen Mary.
A calm sea shone below them in the pale moonlight. Both planes followed the coastline of the Sinai peninsula South. Yet there was no trace of their target.
‘If this ship won’t get into view soon we’ll have to turn around!’ Leutnant Jansen, already a bit nervous, wiped sweat from his brow. He looked first on the fuel gauge and then his watch. Their fuel supply would just last for about twenty further minutes South, latest then they would have to turn around so that they could still safely get back to the Cretan airstrip. And still there was no trace of the Queen Mary.
Then, suddenly, an anchoring convoy of the Allies appeared before them. The largest ship was a freighter of more than 120 metres length; behind there anchored a medium-sized cruiser and many smaller escorting ships. Jansen broke the radio silence, ordering immediate attack on the large freighter: ‘Release and fire at will!’ Almost instantaneously the 20-millimetre guns of the planes began to chatter loudly. Now everything had to work out very fast. They didn’t have a lot of time, for as soon as they were revealed at this low altitude, they would certainly be sitting ducks for the naval guns.
The first bomb released by Jansen’s plane made already a direct hit. The large freighter was torn open like a canned food tin. Obviously it had a lot of ammunition on board, because explosions went on for several minutes like huge fireworks before the ship finally sank into the Red Sea before the coast of Sinai with a red glowing stern. This unexpected success had made the pilots careless: Now they also were determined to sink that cruiser which meanwhile fired back with all its guns. Taking a steep turn port Leutnant Jansen tried to arrange his plane in release position for another bomb. And then a sheaf from the naval guns of the cruiser punched their right wing. The other plane was hit in the fuselage. Black smoke trailed after it when it tried to turn away and unmistakably managed it. Jansen’s own plane was still maneuverable, and he also wanted to fly back, when he noticed that one of the tanks had been shot leaky. This loss of fuel would prevent their return to Crete.
‘We got a hit in the right tank! Return flight to base unpromising. Trying to land in the desert behind the mountains on the other side of the Red Sea. Lots of luck to you, mates’, after this final radio message to the crew of the other machine he veered round to the open sea, hoping to cross the Red Sea with what fuel was remaining in the left tank and then to get over the mountains of the Eastern Egyptian Desert, so that he could attempt an emergency landing in the level, sandy area of the Nile Valley. From there he might get somehow with his four members to Cairo. Half an hour of flight time should be enough – if the fuel would last and the plane keep up that long.
Leutnant Jansen observed tensely the control displays of the engines. The sound had changed, and this meant bad news.
‘The left engine is damaged, it runs only at half performance. Prepare to leave! I don’t think that we can still make it over the mountains.’ Now Jansen had trouble keeping the plane up in the air. Slowly the hand of the altimeter was turning left, indicating steady drop.
Meanwhile it was two o’clock in the morning. They were still above the mountains when suddenly the plane began dropping faster. The right engine of the HE 111 started to stutter, and then it ceased completely. Jansen stared, transfixed, at the silent propeller. Instinctively he put the blades to feathering pitch to prevent descending even faster. Yet they rapidly lost height. It was obvious that they would not reach the plain desert to the north of Luxor any more.
Jansen considered that only for a short moment. ‘All hands, prepare to jump off! Take care to get out of here fast, otherwise you will jump from too low. Meet you at the plane.’ He screamed into the board microphone and pulled up the machine one last time so that his members might easier leave. In rapid succession the four soldiers jumped out of the plane. And soon afterwards, when the height was already alarmingly low for risking a skydive, flight captain Jansen also left the heavily damaged aeroplane. Dangling at his parachute he could observe his aircraft dropping steeply and finally crashing into the foot of a high mountain.
An immense explosion followed. Burning wreckage eerily illuminated the mountaintops of this remote rocky desert.
Jansen touched ground in a gravel trough between two minor mountain peaks and was able to quickly get free of his parachute. He supposed that his members had come down about one kilometre away. The burning plane should indicate to them where to go. Jansen groped his way down through the darkness, and the glow of the fire guided him. Silently he hoped to find still something useful in the debris, such as an operable compass, because finding their way in the desert would otherwise be hard. Till Cairo it was at least 500 kilometres.
Jansen wondered where they might be. From the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula where they had attacked the convoy it was about fifty kilometres as the crow flies to the Egyptian coastline, and high mountains such as these were only up to eighty kilometres inland. They should definitely have reached already the lowlands of the Nile valley. Unless, that was, the north-wind had been stronger than anticipated, not an unusual thing at this time of the year.
Suddenly, when he came closer to the burning aircraft wreck and saw the mountain at which the plane had crashed, he realised where they were. No other elevation of the Eastern Desert at about Luxor was as high as this one. This would be the mountain of Gebel Semna, raising gloomily to more than one-thousand metres. At its foot there blazed the flames from the debris of the crashed aeroplane. So this meant that the north-wind had shifted them more than 100 kilometres South.
Jansen had to grope his way through the darkness over pieces of rock that were razor-sharp. He watched out for his men. The first one found was Obergefreiter Krüger. He as well had survived the skydive unhurt and was obviously glad to find his leader safe, reporting: ‘All right, sir, Obergefreiter Krüger is back!’ Then, behind a small rocky hilltop, they met two other crew members. These did not seem so well. Gefreiter Huber had sprained his ankle and struggled to limp over the sharply edged rocks toward the wreck. Feldwebel Körner even had a gaping wound at his left arm that he had gotten during his descent from the mountain slope on which he had touched ground.
Any help was too late for Unteroffizier Berger. His parachute had been entangled high up at a ledge. When trying to cut himself from the ropes the poor soldier must have fallen down and broken his neck. They found him lying on the bottom of the valley.
‘Soldiers’, Jansen said, ‘as sad as it is that we have lost a mate, we can feel lucky that death didn’t take all of us. It meant taking a big risk to skydive into these mountains in darkness and from minimum height. Let us bed Unteroffizier Berger on his final resting place.’
They took from the dead soldier his identity disc and stacked rocks on the lifeless body as a simple burial mound. Then they continued on their way, guided by the light of fire.
After a while they arrived at the wreck and discovered that the mighty explosion seemed to have caused a rockfall. Not far above the slowly dying flames they saw a stone porch rising halfway out of the scree.
It looked like some ancient, buried gateway. When they came closer they noticed that a sort of greenish smoke or haze crept out of the half exposed entrance.
‘I will have a look at this’, Krüger suggested. At Leutnant Jansen’s nod the Obergefreiter climbed up the scree to the gateway.
‘What is this green haze, sir?’, asked Huber. He looked as if was somewhat under shock.
‘Smoke from burning parts of the plane, maybe, assuming a greenish colour from hydraulic oil?’, Jansen suggested.
‘Sir, that is possible. But I don’t think that’s smoke’, Huber said, ‘It looks to me as if it came out of the porch up there.’
Meanwhile Obergefreiter Krüger had arrived in front of the stone porch, approached it straight. And as soon as he reached the greenish haze wavering on the ground, he suddenly disappeared from the eyes of his dismayed mates. The haze was not that thick that it could hide him, no, it only crawled along as a layer of a few centimetres above the ground. But one second Krüger was there, and the very next second he was gone.
Terrified, the other three stepped back, understanding nothing of what was going on before their eyes. They called for their mate, but he remained vanished. It seemed incredible. Finally, they tried to recollect themselves and looked near the wreck for a place to establish a night camp. Huber got his ankle bandaged, then they slept under a ledge, completely exhausted, for as much short time as there remained till dawn.

333

Slowly, Krüger went on toward the old porch. The greenish haze on the ground was really only a thin layer; he did not think twice about it as he passed through. Then he stood just before the gateway of stone. Before it were lying some boulders, and he found it difficult, squeezing himself between them. But when he finally made it and passed through the gateway into the mountain, he arrived in absolute darkness. Fear took him. There was something unknown that he could not classify. Quickly he took his Luftwaffe lighter from his flight jacket, it dropped from his shaky hand. Krüger bent down and felt for it in the darkness on the ground.
Finally, his fingers touched the round item of metal.
He lifted and lighted it. In the glow of the small flickering flame he noticed that he was standing in a narrow, coarsely made passageway. Curious he went on. At the end of the passageway he found a life-size relief of the ancient Egyptian god of death, Osiris, that was chiselled there into the wall. Krüger turned aside – and was terrified. For on the right side of the wall, the image of a lion-headed deity was engraved into the rock, gazing down at him with fierce eyes. Then, before the image of Osiris, he could barely descry a cube of rock, about the size of a table, the next moment the flame of his lighter flickered out. All was pitch-dark around him.
Panic struck: He had to get out of there quickly! Krüger groped attentively his way through the darkness back toward the entrance. Stumbling over a rock, he fell flat down. Rapidly he struggled back on his feet and now ran towards the exit. From there, bright light shone, and he was completely surprised to find that dawn had broken outside. He felt as if he had been in the passageway for only some minutes – had he possibly fallen unconscious and laid in the cave for hours? In the desert, dawn could sometimes break rather fast, he thought, especially in such a mountainous area. But Krüger was even more surprised when he had finally crept out of the stone porch and saw the sun high up in the sky. It seemed to be midday already.
He could not interpret this. Immediately he began to search for his mates. When nobody answered his loud calls he started looking for their traces, but except for the coarse burial site of Feldwebel Berger, nothing was there. Nearby the wreck of the plane was lying, now fully cooled down. Sand had already been blown into the destroyed cockpit. It looked as if the relics of the crashed bomber had been around there for weeks already.
Krüger had only his Luftwaffe canteen and a knife, and that was it. He set out west, toward the Nile, the sun being his only guide. But Krüger was horrified. How often had he already being facing death during flight missions: Three times he had jumped out of a burning plane with his parachute and each time survived unharmed. But now, in this remote desert of rock, he was in extreme peril.
He was aware that if he did not meet people within one or at the utmost two days, and if he did not at least find water somewhere, then he would miserably die of thirst in this lonesome region. And he did not bet on high wages for himself any more. Krüger laid down in the shade of craning rocks, waiting for the sun to set. In the cool night he might get at least get further than in the heat of the day.
He had, though, not reckoned with those many small rocks on the ground that provided harsh trouble when walking in darkness. However, Krüger was extremely lucky. For the next morning he descended already from the gulches by the extensions of a wadi and reached the flat, sandy desert. And there was a bedouin’s tent, inhabited by some old Arab. The guy gave him water and food. Then, in the evening, a group of riders showed up at the tent, and the next morning they took Krüger along on horseback to the Nile. Two days later they got to the river. Quickly, a felucca was found, a boat that would take him to Cairo. For just as it had been agreed about with his mates on the evening of the crash, he intended to get from the capital of Egypt straight through the zone occupied by the Allied Forces and to the German units in Libya.
Yet after his arrival in Cairo, the blonde Krüger was discovered by the English while trying to acquire Arabian clothes, and he was arrested. Thus he fell into British captivity. This was the end of the war, as far as Obergefreiter Krüger was concerned.

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